On December 9, 2022, a one-day conference entitled ‘‘Raising Awareness of the Importance of Digital Transformation in Public Administration” was organised by the City of Sarajevo in cooperation with the scientific research institute for biomedical engineering, medical devices and artificial intelligence Verlab at the Sarajevo City Hall.
The Western Balkans Digital Agenda focuses on public administration modernisation and outlines, among other things, the advantages of digital transformation such as faster economic growth, more jobs and better services. A regional exchange of know-how and ideas, but also regional networking and provision of electronic services in the region is invaluable for the further development of any economy, but also the region as a whole. The purpose of the conference was an exchange of regional experiences regarding digital transformation of the public administration, but also the society as a whole.
One of the conference speakers, the Minister for Science, Higher Education and Youth of Sarajevo Canton, Prof. Aleksandra Nikolić, PhD, stated that it was high time to go back to thinking about the future and underlined the importance of scientific research as a catalyst of social progress.
The Deputy Mayor of the City of Sarajevo, Mr. Haris Bašić, also addressed the audience and pointed out the engagement of the city administration to the digitalisation of internal and external processes.
The Head of the Public Administration Reform and E-Governance Team at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ms. Marta Arsovska Tomovska, held a presentation about the digitalisation of public administration. Digitalisation, which is one of the priorities of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, has changed the way of functioning of the public administration and improved its cost-effectiveness, transparency and quality of work. She pointed out that the digital transformation of the public administration should be a strategic commitment and that it requires digital leadership and considerable funds. However, although the initial investments are high, it brings multiple benefits.
Prof. Sanja Damjanović, PhD, spoke about research and innovation as the key agents of change, EU initiatives and opportunities for countries of the Western Balkans. This researcher has been working at renowned international research institutes such as CERN Switzerland and GSI Germany for more than twenty years. In the period from 2016 to 2020, she also held the position of the Minister of Science at the Government of Montenegro.
In her speech, Prof. Damjanović pointed out that a new scientific research infrastructure that includes the state-of-art, high-performance computer systems and expert systems based on artificial intelligence algorithms, available to the public administration, the academia, scientific research institution, scientific technology parks and economy, was needed for the revitalisation of the concept of innovation and implementation of solutions. The establishment of scientific research institutes such as the institute Verlab in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been recognised as one of the best practices in other countries.
Lejla Gurbeta Pokvić, PhD, Head of the scientific research institute Verlab, stated during her conference speech that the digital transformation of a society as a whole requires strategic commitment, but also a stronger support to the development of a competitive scientific research and innovation ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will ensure international recognition and, as such, support the process of digital transformation in our country.